December 31, 2013

Enough is enough

We're still in Connecticut. We originally planned to leave later tomorrow, but we had a very unexpected death in our family - my cousin's fiancé. He was very young, barely 30. The services will be Friday, and I think we will head back south on Saturday or Sunday.

Visiting my family has been mostly okay. There is the usual stress, the anxiety, the frustration ... and of course, the overeating. I have no idea of the damage - they don't even have a scale here. But I know how I feel and how my clothes fit, and it's considerable. Plus, Matt and I got into our first real big fight. It wasn't even a fight so much as an outburst of thoughts and emotions that I've kept pent up for months. Overall, we have a very good relationship, but we definitely need to work on communication. We both stay quiet to avoid confrontation, then things build up, and this time, it exploded.

There are so many issues we've dealt with while here. (I will delve into more in separate posts once we get home). I know we need to be here for Friday, to love and support my cousin through the very rough time she is having. But in the same breath, I can't wait to get back home. I feel uncomfortable and gross and just ready for fully recommitting to taking care of myself.

It starts today: my Whole 30. It's going to be hard - insanely so. My mom's New Years tradition for the past 27 years or so has been to make a giant lasagna - no joke, it's got to be about 25 pounds. And there's absolutely nothing Whole 30 acceptable in there.

We'll be home soon enough.

Last week, we went to my aunt and uncle's house. We had dinner, exchanged Christmas gifts, passed Noah around, and sat around talking about this and that, just catching up. They, like most of my family, are perpetual dieters, and talked about how they plan to make changes on January 1. My aunt smiled and laughed a little, then said something I felt so deeply:

"My body is aching for a new year!"

"Aching" is absolutely the word for it.

2013 was one of my hardest years yet. A new baby, a new job, two moves (one out-of-state), a new marriage, countless extended family situations on both sides. As we cross the threshold into 2014, it feels like there isn't much left of myself to give. Perhaps that isn't the right way of phrasing it. I gave 2013 everything I had, I'm exhausted - but today, like the calendar, I'm new.

I want to rediscover the things I used to love. I want to care about myself again. I want to be healthy for my family. I don't want to avoid my friends because I'm ashamed of how I look. I worked hard once, I saw results. I want them again, and this is the year I will see them.

My theme for this year: "enough is enough." First, the traditional meaning, that I've made some poor choices and it's time for me to get serious, seriously so. But also, I mean it in a way that I hope expresses that I am enough. What I am capable of needs to be enough for me. A small effort is better than none - it ought to be enough. Small losses are still losses - those ought to be enough, too. I've struggled so much with feeling like I could always do more, that I'm inferior for not running as fast or as far as X or not losing weight as quickly or as much as Y. I'm me, I'm doing my best. I'm enough, and enough is enough.

December 11, 2013

Extended silence

You don't have to have been blogging for a long time to know what extended silence usually means.

"I've been busy..."

"Things got tough here..."

"I gave up for a while..."

And for me, it's been all of the above.

Thanksgiving was surprisingly not bad, weight-wise ... after all I ate and the choices I made, I was surprised I didn't come back more than just two pounds up. 

The week or so since then, though, has been a disaster.

For Thanksgiving, we went to Matt's grandparents' house in Florida. It was really great to see them and for them to get to spend some time with Noah, since the last time they saw him (the bris, a week after he was born), they both had colds and couldn't hold him at all. So the pictures and memories we got over the holiday are absolutely priceless.

But Noah is a lot bigger than he was when he was born, and he knows what home is, he knows where he is comfortable. So it was a rough week for him. He had been sleeping through the night before we left, but in Florida he was up at least once a night, and more often than not would end up sleeping in the bed with Matt and me. Besides his sleeping, his eating was strange too - eating more often and being almost insatiable when he ate. And he was moody. He's almost always happy, or at least easily soothed. That wasn't always the case in Florida.

As soon as he would fall asleep, I'd eat whatever I could find. Matt's aunt and uncle,  who live a mile or so away from his grandparents, offered us use of the gym in their condo building. I lied and said I didn't have gym clothes with me. Any free moment I could find, I wanted a nap, not a workout.

Since we got back, work has been hectic. It's finals week this week, so last week consisted of reviews, oral exams, making the final exams, and getting my grading in order.

I'm not sure when I snapped exactly, but at some point in the last week, I adopted a "screw everything" attitude. And I ate, and I ate, and I ate. And I brought Matt down with me.

I feel like a horrible and unsupportive wife for doing it. I know he is an adult and can make his own choices, but I also know he struggles as much as I do with weight and food choices, and when I say "forget the fish and veggies, let's order pizza instead," I already know what his answer will be. When your wife is stressed, overtired, and overwhelmed, it's easy to give her something you know will make her happy right now, even if you know in the long run, it's bad for both of you. You can't fix everything, but here's one thing we can take care of, even if it's really just a bandaid.

Pizza one day turned into fast food the next, then barbecue later in the week. Even when we cooked at home, it was unhealthy - spaghetti squash is only good for you if it isn't covered in cheese.

The scale has shot up accordingly, and my mood, incidentally, has gotten even worse. Instead of less stressed, I am more so. Instead of relieved, I feel anxious. Because now we're facing down the barrel of Christmas with my family, and I've backtracked ten pounds. I'm uncomfortable and sad.

I'm trying to learn from my mistakes. I keep making them, but someday I won't. I know the lessons, it's just hard in the moment to make them stick. Overeating will. It solve your problems, it will create more, or at least make some of the current issues worse.

This time of year is habitually challenging for me, and this Christmas will be no different. I find myself dreading visiting friends and family, not because I don't miss them (I do, terribly), but because I am so ashamed of what I have let happen to my body yet again. And because my friend (who had her baby less than a week before I had Noah) has been back in her pre-pregnancy jeans for months, and because my sister (whose due date with her first baby is exactly on Noah's birthday) is looking adorable with a baby bump and has a positive attitude about the whole thing.

Their struggles are not my struggles. Still, I feel inferior. My failures protrude out from my hips, they hang from my stomach and sag from my arms. I wear my addiction. My disorder is publicly broadcast. Even the widest of smiles can't completely distract from the evidence of my shortcomings. The majority of Americans are overweight or obese. Three years ago, I set out to not be a part of that statistic. Instead, I ended up a different one: the one that says that most people who lose significant amounts of weight are unable to keep it off.

Clearly my top priority for 2014 is getting back into therapy, this time with someone who is a better fit for me and my needs.

Every single day lately is a challenge, but I fight on. Even when I feel like an entirely lost cause, I know that deep down, there is a glimmer of hope in me still. Even on days when the task seems insurmountable, I know, honestly, that it is not. I wobble a bit, I stumble sometimes, but I never completely fall. I won't. I can't.

November 22, 2013

Roses and thorns

Unlike any school I've ever attended or taught at, this university gives a full week off for Thanksgiving break. I'm thankful for a lot of things this year, and this is definitely one of them. After what has felt like going non-stop since Noah was born, I'm ready for a few days of rest.

And I hope they are restful.

I'm nervous about going to Florida and staying with Matt's grandparents - it's not that they are strangers, I have met them before. But they are very health-conscious and I am worried that my extreme tendencies will kick in. I'll either deprive myself all week to fit in, or try and binge in private so they don't realize I have problems with food.

I wish I could have talked to my therapist this week, but we broke up. Well, I dumped her. After she was at least 5 minutes late to every single session (this time for more than 15 minutes), then went over time every session as well, I finally had enough and called, got her voicemail, and said thank you for all her help but I would not be returning to her practice. I finally heard back from her nearly an hour later, saying she was sorry and let's try again. Honestly, though, it wasn't the most comfortable environment, and so the search begins again for a new therapist.

That was Tuesday. The next day was my birthday. I have been anxious about that for a while, mainly stressing over what we would do for a birthday dinner. We ended up going out to sushi for lunch (I figured, smaller portions would be better) and then made dinner at home. Birthday cake was replaced with frozen yogurt. I thought it was a good day food-wise, but the next day I was up two pounds. I had maintained all week, then that, and today I'm still there: 251. I hate being back in the 250s but I know it's temporary. Looking at my last few weeks of weigh-ins, they all look like this. Big loss, small regain. Down 3, up 1 ... down 5, up 2. I don't like the regain, but I'm glad it goes back down again. It shows how I'm determined to get back to my healthiest self. I don't give up, even when the going gets tough.

Today I am doing oral interviews with my students for their final exam. A busy teaching day, but not a hard one. Then, Matt, Noah, and I will head to the store to get some last minute road trip needs - diapers, bottled water, toiletries - then it's home to pack. Matt will go for a run while I pack, then I will hit the gym while he makes sure the trash is taken out and the dishes are done. I ate within my calories yesterday but was exhausted and didn't work out - if I had, I know the scale would've been back down this morning. A good workout will help me feel better and get me in a good mood for the next week.

I don't know if I will have constant Internet access (I'm almost hoping I don't, so I can unplug a bit!) but I hope to blog at least once while we are gone. Matt's mom, grandmother, and brothers got me an iPad for my birthday, so I can at least draft posts. There is a Blogger app - I downloaded it but haven't tried it yet, hope it works!

What about you? How was your week? What are your Thanksgiving plans? Anyone have a review of the Blogger app for iPad?

November 17, 2013

Roses and thorns

I typically post weigh-ins on Fridays but this weekend has been go-go-go non-stop, so this is the first chance I'm finding to share this week's results.

After last week's frustrating gain, I cracked down and worked hard this week, and it worked - I weighed in at 249!

That's a 5 pound loss for the week, and a new decade to work through. I'm excited to be this close to 245 (my 100 pound weight loss milestone), but also, 247 - at that point, I will have lost half the weight I gained while pregnant, but also, my BMI will be back under 40 - meaning, I will be "just" obese. The last time this happened, I was just as excited:
This morning there will be a little extra bounce in my step, because my weekly weigh-in has been a good one. Last week I was at 250 even, so any loss would get me into the 240s and put me up against my old foe, The Four in the Tens Place. This morning, I am at 246. These four pounds make my total loss 99 pounds, and bring my BMI to 39.7 ... which means I am no longer the super obese person I was in July. And I'm not even the morbidly obese person I've been whittling myself down to. Today, I am simply obese, and all things considered, that is a wonderful thing to be.
One thing that helped a lot this week was avoiding peanut butter. It's been a quick spoonful for a snack (though, interestingly enough, no longer a binge trigger since I got pregnant), but it's so many calories for just a little amount. In some cases, abstinence works better for me than moderation, so for now, I'm going to keep trying to stay away from it.

I can feel a little difference in my body composition since I started working out, even though it has only been about two or three weeks. The leg muscles I built up with thousands of miles of cycling in California are feeling strong again! And slowly, but surely, my self confidence is building up. I no longer make a retching sound when Matt takes pictures of me - it's now "hmm, that one isn't horrible." They're baby steps in the right direction.

The weekend so far has been so-so with food choices - on Friday we had a faculty retreat at work and even though I had half a sandwich with a little broccoli salad and a cookie for lunch, I still felt bloated with sodium. The scale was up a little bit the next day (though still in the 249 range), which I expected. Saturday, I knew we would be going out to dinner - Matt's aunt and uncle were driving down to Florida for the winter so we drove a few hours to a convenient town where we could meet up. I had a protein heavy late breakfast/early lunch, then made the best choices I could at dinner (a barbecue place). I made sure to go to the gym before we hit the road, so that hopefully helped a little.

I'm drafting this post Saturday night to post Sunday morning, so I am not sure what the scale will read tomorrow, but I'm not worried. I made the best choices I could, I didn't binge, and the rest of the week will be full of good choices, so in the end, it will all end up okay.

Wednesday is my birthday, and I am not planning on doing anything special food-wise. We had discussed going out to dinner but after this weekend, plus the anticipated meals out on our way to/while we are in Florida, I think it's smarter to just stay in. More than birthday cake, more than a heavy restaurant dinner ... I want to be able to wear my old clothes. I want to reach the milestones. I want to feel like my healthiest self.

What about you? How was your week? What are your Thanksgiving plans?

November 13, 2013

Questing for Super

This has been a good week. It definitely could have been better, but given my stress and exhaustion levels due to it being the busiest time of the semester, I'm feeling good about what I have managed to do.

I want to work on eliminating processed foods from my diet.
This has been the toughest part this week. I started strong, and brought roasted chicken breast and half a sweet potato for my non-Lean Cuisine lunch last Thursday or Friday. But yesterday and today have been tough - I've never worked anywhere before where people always bring snacks and treats. I need to get better at saying "No, thank you." It's tough, though, when you're tired and stressed and someone sticks a box of cookies under your nose and says "No, really, please, have one." I had one, I logged it in MyFitnessPal, and I'm moving on.

I want to reclaim my 100 pound weight loss milestone.
Despite my cookie eating, I'm doing pretty well so far this week on this one. I am currently 5 pounds away from my 100 pound weight loss milestone. I doubt I'll make it by my birthday (next Wednesday), but I'm very happy at how close I'll be.

Today I was able to wear a pre-pregnancy shirt!



It just barely fits, and was big when I wore it before, but I'm letting all that go. All that matters is, I wore it before, and I'm wearing it now. And it's super.

My work is paying off, and it's an inspiration for me to be consistent with my efforts.

I want to become active again.
I did well with this one, too. I worked out Saturday, Sunday, and Monday. I took last night off after an extra stressful day, and I'm ready to get back in there today!

November 8, 2013

Roses and thorns

For some reason, this week felt like it dragged on forever. Lots of meetings, lots of stuff to do at work, a few stresses at home. Every day, I went to bed exhausted.

I was down a pound earlier in the week but today I'm back where I was a week or so ago, to 254. It's frustrating but I'm not too upset - I know I did well most of the week and last night I got overly snacky - stress-related, but also, learning to balance everything. I have the food in control, as long as I'm not working out. I have to keep my workouts basic, I think, because if I do too much, I get very hungry, and I'm not equipped to deal with that situation just yet.

I feel bloated and yucky. I'm sure having my period doesn't help, but I always hate that excuse.

My goal for this week is to keep on keepin' on. I did a pretty good job last week, I can't lose sight of that - I went to the gym four times, starting Saturday and with Tuesday/Thursday rest days (yesterday was insane, by the time my work day was done and we got home, it was so late!). I think 5 days is a good goal - every day except Tuesday/Thursday sounds like a good plan for now, at least for the rest of the semester.

Another goal is to not eat peanut butter. Long-time readers will, I'm sure, remember that peanut butter has long been one of my trigger foods. I've learned to live with it in the house - before Matt and I moved in together, I couldn't buy it at all. When I was pregnant, it repulsed me, and it lost most of its power over me. I've been bringing a single serving Jif cup with me to work to eat with a banana or apple, and it's good, but it's a lot of calories for something so small. I can have a whole bag of light microwave popcorn for the same calories as a spoonful of peanut butter! Since volume is a big thing for me, my goal for this week is to focus on snacks that are healthy and not so calorie dense.

Not sure what our plans are for this weekend yet. I'm hoping to squeeze in a nap at some point, and of course some trips to the gym, but other than that, no clue.

What about you? How was your week? Any fun weekend plans? What's for dinner at your house tonight?

Also: Spoonful of Me, please email me - Matt ran the Polar Dash the last few years, lots of advice for you!

November 6, 2013

Questing for Super

This has been a pretty good week. Having focused, attainable goals is really working out well for me. I still have a lot of progress to make, but I'm working hard, and I feel good about what I accomplished this week.

I want to work on eliminating processed foods from my diet.
I did well with this one. I still have to work on bringing non-Lean Cuisine lunches, but this week I know I will accomplish that. When grocery shopping last weekend, I purposefully did not pick up any of the 100 calorie packs of cookies I usually pack in my lunches. Instead, I brought a piece of pinole until we ran out, and I was too tired to cook more, so I just brought pieces of fruit.

Pinole is a homemade energy bar - Matt found the recipe in Eat and Run, a book by ultramarathoner Scott Jurek. It's a pretty simple recipe - about a half cup of cornmeal, a few tablespoons of chia seeds, a few tablespoons of honey, cinnamon to taste, and enough water to moisten it all up. You toast the cornmeal, then mix all the ingredients together, form a large rectangle on a cookie sheet, and bake it at 375º for 10-15 minutes. Matt eats them before long runs, and I figured it would be a good snack to keep me feeling full between lunch and dinner. It's surprisingly filling for about 194 calories.

I want to reclaim my 100 pound weight loss milestone.
I did very well with this one, too. As of this morning, I'm 7 pounds away from my goal. I'm glad things are finally moving in the right direction.

I want to become active again.
Another success. I went to the gym on Saturday...

... sweat a little more on Sunday ...

... and marveled at my still-pretty-amazing calf muscles on Monday.

The funny thing is, it was tough to get myself to go to the gym the first time, and then as soon as I got there, I remembered how much I love it and had to force myself to leave before overdoing it!

I was the proudest of my Monday workout. It was a very long day for me - taught all day, had office hours, then a couple of committee meetings. We went home, had dinner, fed Noah and put him to bed, and then I suited up and headed over to the gym.

It's so easy to say "I'm tired," but it's so much more rewarding to say "I did it anyway."

November 1, 2013

Roses and thorns

First off, happy belated Halloween!

We had exactly one trick-or-treater this year, which I expected a little (it was the same at my apartment complex in California). To prevent excess candy around the house, we got a bag of candy on Wednesday afternoon, which I brought to work to give to students who attended a movie screening I hosted on Wednesday evening. Whatever was left, we would give to trick-or-treaters. It ended up being about 10 pieces - which turned out to be 9 more than we needed.

The bag was an assortment, and what was left after the kids picked over it was all one kind of candy bar that I don't particularly like. Still, I fought with myself all night. There won't be any more kids - just eat one! But I knew that even though I don't like them, it wouldn't have stopped at one. I even looked at the calorie count - 70 calories for one, that won't ruin your day! 

But it's not about the calories, is it?

I went to bed feeling very proud that I hadn't eaten a single piece of candy all day. This morning, my weigh in showed 253 - down 3 pounds for this week, and the lowest weight I've been since Noah was born. I was 254 the day we got married, and it took me a month and a half to get back there. Sure, it's been a wild, stressful month and a half, but still. Not good.

So, I started September at 260, October at 256, and November at 253. It's slow, but it's progress. I'm looking forward to breaking through to the 240s again, and finally being able to reclaim my membership in the Century Club.

There will certainly be a lot of challenges this month: my birthday, Thanksgiving (which lands during Hanukkah this year), and the traveling before and after. I'm grateful for the Thanksgiving/Hanukkah overlap, because that means all the temptation is combined into one day. I'm feeling very strong right now, with a strong sense of self-control, and I hope that the feeling will continue and get me through this tough month.

A few more weeks of therapy between now and then will help a lot as well. This week we had our second session and it went very well. We came up with a plan of my therapy goals, and I explained a lot of my issues with food, with my family, with my relationships. She said it doesn't sound so much like depression as anxiety, something I was fairly sure of myself, and she said we will begin working right away on helping me feel less stressed and guilty, and more assertive and confident. She said that even though the rock bottom of my binge eating was what brought me into therapy, we can't work on that first because focusing on food would lead to failure. My issues aren't with the foods themselves, but with the emotions that drive me to binge eat. Working on the emotions, she said, will help us lead into treating the disordered eating habits. Like my dad always says: take care of the pennies and the dollars will take care of themselves.

I'm looking forward to this weekend: maybe going to a local statue garden with Matt and Noah to see the autumn leaves, working on a big pile of grading, and hopefully a nap in there somewhere.

What about you? How was your week? What are your goals for November? Any fun weekend plans?

October 30, 2013

Questing for Super

When I first started blogging, something that I found to be a strong motivator was joining blog challenges. For a set time period, you work towards a certain goal(s) and write posts to update on your progress.

It pushed me. I looked forward to not only posting my successes, but sharing my struggles. It might not work for everyone, but it worked for me.

When my friend Cynthia posted a little while ago about a challenge her friend Mica was hosting, I decided to give it a try. So many things I've been trying to replicate with no success - but this, a few little goals, seems do-able.

I'm not quite sure how long the challenge is supposed last, so for now, I'm going to just make goals for November. I think focusing too much on long-term goals is getting in the way of my success in the short term. One month at a time is a good, medium sort of commitment.

Find your quest. Start with three things you want to work on to become "super."

I want to work on eliminating processed foods from my diet.

I want to reclaim my 100 pound weight loss milestone.

I want to become active again.

Decide on a plan of action to develop those quests.

1. My eventual goal is to be able to complete a Whole 30 - I intend on doing this during the 30 days I have between the end of Fall Semester and the beginning of Spring Semester. I just know myself and my current work situation (first year teaching in a new place is always tough!) and I know that if I started now, I'd fail. I want to set myself up to succeed, so building up to the Whole 30, I want to start eating better and eating fewer processed foods.

2. As of today, I'm 9 pounds away. It's right there. I can practically touch it. Now I just have to buckle down and commit to curbing my excess snacking, avoiding binges, making better choices overall, and working out. I forget where I saw it, but someone once posted something like, "it's easier to not eat 250 calories than it is to burn 250 calories." It's so true, and I need to keep that in mind.

3. I need to take baby steps with this one, because when I set huge goals and then fall short, I get very discouraged. I need to do the best I can, and right now - considering, again, that it's the end of the semester and that I am not only a full-time teacher but a full-time mom, I think a reasonable plan for this would be to try and log three workouts a week.

Choose how you will measure your success.

1. Replacing the processed snacks I pack in my lunch with healthier options is the first success. Next, trying to pack something for lunch that isn't a Lean Cuisine - goal is to bring one non-frozen lunch a week for the first two weeks, then two for week three. Week four will be tough - it's Thanksgiving break, and we'll be in Florida visiting Matt's aunt and grandparents. My goal for that week is to just make good choices - don't use eating in restaurants as an excuse for going nuts.

2. This one's pretty straightforward - get to or below 245 pounds and it's a success.

3. This one I pretty much already delineated - three workouts a week, 30 minutes or more. More is always fine, but three should be the minimum. This includes when we are in Florida - I should be out and about, even just going for a long walk would be good.

Blog about your goals, your progress, and your not progress.

Will do! My intention for this is to post a Q4S update every Wednesday.

October 25, 2013

Roses and thorns

After seeing the scale jump up earlier this week, it's back down to 256 today. Not great, of course, but back to where I've been maintaining, at least.

Tonight was the on-campus 5K. Matt ran it for me, and nailed a PR - a little over 25 minutes. I can't even imagine running that fast - though really, I can't quite imagine running at all these days. Even thinking about running makes me cry.

Speaking of which, on Thursday morning, I had a pretty good first meeting with the therapist. It was about 45 minutes, and we laid out the framework of what my treatment plan will be. Basically, I gave her a lot of background, things we will discuss in depth later on.

I don't know how much of it I'll be working through here. Mainly because this isn't the private venting place it used to be for me - family and friends all read it now, something I purposely avoided when I started the blog. A lot of the issues are deeply personal - things that are contributing, I'm sure, to my recessed disordered eating habits.

Things related to weight loss, of course, I will try to share. Maybe someone will be able to find some wisdom in my journey. Some other areas, though, I'll be working through privately, and I'm sure you understand. Thursday morning, I told the therapist things I haven't thought about in ages. Things I've never said out loud, even - not even to my husband.

It's not much, but it's a start, and I'm happy to be on that road.

What about you? How was your week?

October 21, 2013

Nope, that wasn't it

Since we were out of town for most of Thursday, including 6+ hours in the car, I didn't get a chance to post a weigh-in for Friday. I had, again, maintained all week, but today I'm up a few pounds, to 259.

It was a rough weekend for some reason. Maybe it was the stress of Noah needing the surgery, and anxieties over the trip itself. Maybe it was nerves about work, and feeling overwhelmed with things needing to be accomplished there. Or maybe it was the sting of my cousin reaching out to me about making sure I am focused on getting back to a healthy weight. The last time she approached me about it, I was 345 pounds; bringing it up now means she sees me in the same state, even if the numbers on the scale aren't the same. She meant well, but with everything I'm dealing with right now, it was the last thing I wanted to hear. I don't want to hear that people can see how deeply I'm suffering, how hard I am struggling.

I dealt with it all in the way I know feels best, even if I only feel it in that moment.

No one is more critical of me than I am of myself. I feel so horrible for reacting this way. Guilty, even. My family sees that I'm obese again, so I overeat to feel better. My son isn't eating enough, so I overeat to forget that I can't make enough milk for him. I'm trying so hard to be a good wife and partner, so I leave all my work in the office and try to be sociable after hours, but then I get back to work and find myself overwhelmed with all I have to do. And I overeat.

A few months ago, I saved a brilliant cartoon from Toothpaste for Dinner:

It hit me, hard.

It's everything I've thought to myself, expressed very succinctly.

When I started this blog, I was super obese and deeply depressed.

Then I started to lose weight, with my only goals being "happy and healthy."

Healthy came easily at first.

But happy?

Nope, that wasn't it.

Nope, that wasn't it.

Nope, that wasn't it.

Nope, that wasn't it.

Nope, that wasn't it.

Nope, that wasn't it.

Nope, that wasn't it.

Nope, that wasn't it.

Don't get me wrong - so many of these moments I would say made me happy, very happy, ecstatic and joyful, even. But happy is a band-aid, my hurts run deeper than these moments could heal. Even at my happiest moments, I still feel incredibly broken and in need of a repair.

Weight loss didn't fix the emotional problems. And if anything, the weight regain has made them worse.

I'm making good on my promise to myself.

I'm seeking a happy and healthy life. Before physical health can be attained, and if I want the results to be maintained long-term, I need to invest in my mental health. I need to work on the happy.

I need deeper reaching, more intense workouts than I've ever faced before - only this time, they need to work out my inner problems. The reasons why I binge, why I restrict, why I find myself so full of self-loathing and the only way to soothe the feelings is to suppress them, rather than confront or deal with them.

I want a healthy relationship with food and exercise, and the first step toward accomplishing that is to try and start a healthy relationship with myself.

Over three years after starting this blog, I finally made the call.

My first appointment with a therapist is on Thursday morning. She deals with childhood issues, with new mom/new wife issues, with trying-to-be-do-and-have-it-all issues. Most importantly, though, she deals with disordered eating issues, which I am more than ready to talk about.

October 16, 2013


Tomorrow we're heading to Columbia, the state capital, to meet with an oral surgeon who will revise Noah's upper lip and tongue ties. I like that they call the procedure a "revision" and not a "fix" - I didn't break him or make him wrong, he just needs some additional help.

I'm very, very nervous. I know it's a simple procedure and all, but still, he's my baby, and in case you haven't realized in the three years of this blog ... I'm tend to worry a lot.

We're lucky that we got an appointment this week - there are no classes this Friday and I was excused from the meetings I was supposed to attend to give Noah the full attention he's going to need. Bottles may be uncomfortable for him at first, so it'll be great to be able to nurse him as he needs.

After the surgery, Matt thinks we should try and see the city since we're driving all that way to get there, but honestly, I'm hoping to just come home and help my baby convalesce a bit - he will likely bleed a bit, and nursing will be a new challenge. He basically has to relearn how to suck all over again since he's never properly used his top lip or his tongue. We'll see the lactation consultant for some physical therapy after - just some simple exercises and stretches for his mouth.

Once it gets fixed, nursing will be a bit uncomfortable at first, but then it should get easier and my milk supply should increase dramatically - the sources the lactation consultant offered said an increase of at least 30 oz per day can be expected. That's more than twice what we figure I'm making now.

And it can't happen too soon.

Since we moved so quickly back in August, I didn't have time to get Noah's medical records from the clinic where we went for his checkups. This proved to be a big problem when we went to find a pediatrician here in South Carolina. We finally got an appointment and saw a doctor yesterday - so, his 4 month appointment took place when he was 5 1/2 months. Frustrating, but better late than never.

He's a tall boy - 26", up from 19 1/2" when he was born. The only concern the pediatrician (and the lactation consultant) had was about his weight. At his 2 month appointment, Noah was in the 48th percentile for weight - perfectly average. This week, he measured below the 15th percentile. He has gained weight, but not enough. He should be a bit bigger by now - a little more than double his birth weight. At 14 lb 4 oz, he's about a pound and a half shy of where he ought to be.

The concern is low - it's not that he can't grow, because he did get taller. He's just not eating enough, and that's something we kind of already knew - the issues with his mouth affect how much he eats, which in turn affects my milk supply. The doctor's suggestion was to up solid foods to twice a day instead of just once, and we'll see how it goes.

I know the lip tie isn't my fault, and that I'm not a bad parent because my baby needs a little special attention. Still, I have an awful feeling over the fact that Noah is struggling with his weight.

I'm not underfeeding him on purpose, of course not. We feed him as much as he wants, whenever he wants. The kid loves food - so far, he really has only shown a dislike for peas, and even those, when mixed with other fruits or veggies, he's fine with. He gobbles it down like a little champ. Nursing has absolutely not been easy, especially with my transition from staying at home with him to being a working mom. But we've made do, and he isn't being deprived, not at all.

But I know long-term, this is something I'm afraid of. As someone with my fair share of food issues, and as someone married to someone with his own food issues, I'm absolutely terrified that Noah will inherit our food-related neuroses and disordered habits. I've struggled so much with my weight and with my eating habits, both on the too-much and too-little sides of the spectrum. I don't want my son to suffer the same way. I wonder if, for him, it will be "just food," the way I wish it were for me, rather than an obsession or something that I am constantly aware of and compelled to binge on or restrict.

The debate goes on whether nature or nurture has a greater influence on this kind of thing. I can't take back what we've already given Noah genetically. All we can do now is offer is a positive environment and an example through our own healthy relationship with food. It's going to take a considerable effort on our part - he's still quite young, but you'd be amazed how quickly he picks up on things. How small things get noticed - little actions, little behaviors. He's a sponge. So, we need to offer him a positive model. It's not just about losing weight now, but about maintaining a healthy lifestyle for ourselves and for our son.

In the meantime, he just needs to keep being a happy, healthy little boy - and likely the only one in either family who's ever been told "you really should try and eat more."

October 11, 2013

Roses and thorns

I'm down a pound this week, to 255. Wish it was more, but I'll take it. I worked out for approximately 90 seconds all week. I got so excited about doing Wii Fit every day and went to start a workout, and quickly realized as the balance board kept shutting down, that the equipment I need to do the workouts is broken. Go figure, after 4 years (2 of which it was barely used at all), the stuff stops working.

Down but not out. I got a lot of good suggestions on my last few posts, so I'm going to look into workouts on Netflix or YouTube - I know in the past I've struggled with videos like that, but you know, I've got to give it another try. My situation now is different than it was a few years ago, maybe the success of the workouts will be too.

I think that's part of my biggest problem these days - and Matt's, too. He regained a few pounds after Noah was born (and he left his job, and we moved, and he became a full-time stay at home dad - busy year of changes for him, too) - he's still under 200, he has managed to stay pretty active and keep his weight in control. But he's still not thrilled and wants to get back to where he was right before Noah was born, about 15 pounds lighter.

The problem that we're both having is that we know what has worked for us in the past, and so we try to replicate the conditions - except that now, the conditions in our lives are entirely different. He's not sleeping days and working overnight, so he needs to re-adapt to eating actual meals at normal times, not just a cup of yogurt here and some nuts a little while later and a granola bar after that. Likewise, I am coming to terms that the 2 hours (commuting time included) I devoted nightly to working out - yeah, that's not going to happen again any time soon. I'm working full-time, on top of being a mom who is trying to nurse her infant and a new wife trying to make sure her relationship is strong while we adapt to our new life, together, in a place we've never so much as visited let alone ever thought we'd live. 

My weight is somewhere in the middle of my mind right now. I am, of course, aware of it at all times, and thinking often about what I can and should be doing differently. I wish it were at the front, that it could get my full attention like it did in the past.

It's not like it was. But that's a good thing, too. We're learning, we're adapting, and we're figuring out how to succeed where we are with what we have and who we have become. "New" isn't bad. It's just different.

Speaking of our infant ... the little nugget turned 5 months old this week.

I can't believe how fast time is flying by. Last night, we met with a lactation consultant a few towns away to address some issues and concerns I had. I'm in a local La Leche League group on Facebook, and someone had been posting a lot of information on tongue and lip tie awareness, and when I was looking at Noah's mouth to see if his teeth had made any progress, I realized his mouth looked a lot like that of the baby in the pictures. Reading up on the symptoms, almost every single one described us - besides the visual, he has had trouble nursing, I've had a low milk supply, and he has never really stuck out his tongue. When he smiles, his top lip doesn't really go up at all. At 5 months old, he still nurses/takes small bottles every 1.5-2 hours - which is exhausting, especially when you have to plan your weekend activities around making sure you can not only nurse him but pump enough for work the next week.

A quick look and a feel, and the consultant confirmed that Noah not only has the lip tie but also a tongue tie, and they're both pretty bad. It was a frustrating diagnosis - especially because we had asked the lactation consultant at the hospital right after he was born. He'd had a little trouble latching on, and she said it was a problem with my body, that he didn't have a tongue tie. We had her specifically check, because Matt also had one when he was born, and apparently they're genetic.

She said he'll need surgery, at which point I started crying. Just overwhelmed with thoughts and emotions. I feel like a failure - I must have done something during pregnancy, I couldn't make my baby right. I am ashamed - I was unemployed in Chicago and going to a low-income clinic, so of course I got what I paid for and the ties weren't caught when we had them check right after he was born. I feel worried - my little tiny 14 pound turkey of a baby was going to need surgery. And I feel guilty - all these times when I got frustrated with him for letting go of the latch while I was nursing, or for the jeez-you-want-to-nurse-again-I-just-fed-you-an-hour-ago growls. He was struggling, and I now feel selfish and guilty.

Of course, there's a small bit of relief in there, too. We finally know why I can barely pump any milk, between the lip and tongue issues preventing him from properly suckling and the breast pump I was using being not appropriate for our needs. But overall, I'm feeling very anxious and nervous. We finally have insurance, but they won't cover the hospital-grade pump we need. They didn't cover the meeting with the lactation consultant, either. I'm praying they cover the surgery at least.

I woke up at 3 a.m. with Noah and he dozed back to sleep after nursing, while I stayed in bed biting my nails and overthinking everything for another couple of hours.

I need to figure so many things out. How to fix my baby's mouth, how to get this expensive pump, how to build up my supply, how to get my work done on time, how to not be exhausted just thinking about things, how to eat normally, how to make time for exercise, how to find time to breathe once in a while.

October 4, 2013

Roses and thorns

The scale didn't budge this week. Like, almost at all. Maintained to the ounce every day except yesterday, when it was up .2, but it was back down today. This, plus other reasons, is why I'm committing to be active this month. I started October 4 pounds lighter than I started September, I'd like to see a slightly better loss when we November. It'd be really nice to re-achieve my 100 pound loss by my birthday in late November! Just 11 more pounds.

It's been a busy week of giving exams, grading them, giving oral midterms, and then grading those. And I'm not even half done with the grading! It'll be a busy weekend for sure, but I know we'll make time to have a little fun, too.

We're trying to limit excess spending since we're on a single income, but every weekend we make it a point to go mini golfing. I hadn't gone in about 20 years before we started going a few weeks ago, and we love it. We live in the mini golf capitol of the world, so there are tons of courses everywhere with all different themes, and since we're local, a lot of the places give discounts. We are thinking about trying every mini golf place in the area - we started a little review blog of the places, if anyone's interested. It's a fun project for Matt to work on while I'm at work and Noah is napping.

Speaking of Noah and blogs, I've decided not to renew my domain for Kosher Lasagna. Now that I'm working full-time again, on top of being a mom and a wife and a million other things, I'm struggling just to update this blog more than once a week. I rarely update Kosher Lasagna at all, just monthly updates on Noah. It's tough, because I have a lot of thoughts about religion and spirituality and parenting and all that, I just don't have the time right now. And the domain isn't expensive - $10 a year - but still, if I'm not using it, it's a waste. I'll convert it back to and keep using it, but I can't guarantee it'll be anything more than it is right now, at least not for a little while. Just too much on my plate these days.

It seems like all of my students have colds. I really, really, really hope I don't get sick.

I have a few big thoughts to get off my chest, but right now, I'm writing quickly between classes (still have one more oral midterm to give!), and I've got lesson plans to make for Monday. Busy, busy, busy! But - I'm teaching, and I wouldn't trade it for the world.

What about you? How was your week? What are your weekend plans?

October 3, 2013

October goals

Now that September is over, I'm trying to think about a new goal for October. The month of salads was good but not great - my biggest issue was with consistency. The few times we went out to eat caused big setbacks on the scale. My salads weren't very diverse towards the end, it was mostly just eggs over greens, but still, I loved how it healthy made me feel, and I ended the month 4 pounds lighter than when I started. We're gonna keep having salads pretty often, I think.

For October, I'm feeling more confident with the eating - there is, of course, room for improvement still, but I am feeling more in control and less likely to binge. So I want to really commit to being active again. It would help with weight loss but also, it would hopefully help me de-stress after work, something I certainly need these days. I registered for a 5K a few months ago, and it's taking place in about three weeks. I definitely won't be ready to run it, though I still want to walk it (or run-walk, maybe).

I'm feeling very conflicted about running these days. I remember so vividly how wonderful it felt to run for the first time, how supported I felt finishing a race with my family at the finish line, how tearful I was crossing the finish line of my first half marathon. And yet, wanting to feel that way once again isn't a motivator. It seems so incredibly out of reach. To be honest, even thinking about running these days makes me anxious.

Weight loss makes me anxious, too, and I think it's because I'm retracing steps.

The first time I ran, it was empowering. It was me, moving in a way I'd never moved before. This time, though, I'm trying to repeat milestones. It's so hard to not see it as failure, to not be overly hard on myself for needing to achieve these things as if they were foreign and new.

Learn how to run for a minute at a time? Ugh, I already did this.

Trying to get out of the 250s? Ugh, I already did this.

The work part of it is not actually as hard as I'm making it all out to be. The hardest part is definitely getting up the motivation to take off my pity party hat, put on my big girl pants, and actually do the work.

Trying to be aware every single day, to always always keep in mind: It's not always easy. But it is always worth it.

So, that's my plan for October: stop feeling bad for yourself because you're dealing with a medium-sized setback. Not being able to wear all those cute clothes in the closet? Sucks. Not feeling like my healthiest self anymore? Sucks. Not being able to run the distances or the speeds that I used to be able to do? Sucks.

I don't have a choice. The only way to make these things better is to commit to action.

I don't want to run, and that's okay for now. I didn't start running last time, either. I walked, then I did Wii Fit, then I worked my way up to running. I need to build back some confidence first, so I think a reasonable goal for October would be to commit to 1000 minutes logged on the Wii Fit. Since it's already the 3rd, that leaves 29 days - I can achieve my 1000 minute goal with a little less than 35 minutes a day.

I've printed out a calendar for logging my minutes - last time, things like this helped a lot. Whenever I had a race I was training for, I'd log my miles and times on a printed out calendar page on my refrigerator (location not unintentional). Hopefully it works this time, too.

September 27, 2013

Roses and thorns

This has been another one of those weeks that just flies by. I had the best intentions of posting mid-week, but with midterms next week (already!!!) I found myself more overwhelmed with work (grading, exam creating, etc.) than I had expected. The work is mostly done for next week, so I'm hoping to be able to post something between this weigh in and the next.

I'm a bit frustrated with my weigh in this week - up a pound, to 256. I was doing so well, too, on a streak of losing. Saturday morning Matt had a race, and after, I forgot he had mentioned there would be a little event downtown where a few of the small local restaurants were offering tasting menus. So we went to a few different places and split little things here and there. They're all local, no chains, so we thought it would be a good idea to check them out, so when we have guests visiting, we know where to take them.

I didn't eat a lot, but I know it was crazy high in sodium. It would have been okay, though, except that then later that night was our friends' party. I stayed in control with my snacking - I was really proud of myself, not going overboard even though it looked like Pinterest exploded on their counter - all kinds of dips and spreads, homemade bread, etc.

And I woke up the next morning 7 pounds heavier.


I cried, then Matt and I talked about it, and he threw out our scale. It was a few years old, and even though we had recently replaced the battery, it was still sort of wonky lately. He stepped on it himself, and it showed one number - five minutes later, in the same exact spot, with nothing else different, it gave a readout that was 4 pounds lighter.

We went to the store that night and got a brand new scale, and the next morning, I saw 258. Still a gain, but a much more understandable one. And I worked all week to get it down, but 256 on the nose was all I could do.

Part of the problem was that we didn't stick to the nightly salad plan this week. I love how I feel when I stick to it, so for this week, I'm going to get back on track with those. I've been inspired by Caroline's beautiful Whole 30 pictures - wanting avocado so badly!

I got an email today that the campus recreation department will be doing spinning classes in October. Now that I'm doing better with pumping milk for Noah, I might consider going to a few. It's been a long, long time since I've properly exercised, and I know if I'm ever going to get out of the 200s, I need to recommit to being active. It's just been tough - first with struggling to keep up my milk supply, and this week, just with being tired. I was in bed by 9 most nights, sometimes as early as 7:30. I'd put Noah down, then crash immediately too. It's a busy time in the semester. Just need to, as always, work on time management and making time for the things that are important to me.

What about you? How was your week?

I wanted to write earlier this week about an article I read on CNN: two year old had weight loss surgery. It was a really interesting article, and has been on my mind quite a bit. I absolutely refused to read any comments on the article, knowing that for every insightful and well thought out one, there would be a dozen ridiculous and rude ones. I'm interested in what you all think, though. Is a physically changing surgery a good idea for such a young child? I'm inclined to say that in most cases, it isn't - it's better to teach healthy habits, change to healthier foods, eliminate excess snacking, and get active as a family. This boy was, of course, a different case - it wasn't a matter of 5 or 10 pounds overweight, but enough that it became life-threatening. Still, I think I hold the same opinion that I have on weight-loss surgery for adults: it's important to keep in mind that it's not a few snips here and there and magically you'll be thin. You still need to work hard - eating better, eating less, moving more - and learning how to make that all part of your routine for the rest of your life. I dreamt of WLS when I was a kid. I thought it would make things better. What I eventually realized, though, was that I didn't want the surgery, I wanted the results. And if I had to work hard with or without the surgery, I'd rather save the money and the post-operative healing time. Thoughts?

September 20, 2013

Roses and thorns

I'm down another two pounds this week, to 255. It's a good feeling, to be on a bit of a roll. The weight loss is entirely food based - just making better choices more consistently. I still need to add exercise back in - besides some occasional walking (and really, that's minimal), the weight loss is entirely dietary. And in a way, I think that's good. It's good to feel hungry again. It's good to feel properly fueled and not bloated by unhealthy choices.

I need to get active again - for my mental health as well as my physical health - but at the moment, it's still good feeling in control. It's forward motion in a positive direction. I know that when I was pregnant with Noah, I gained a lot of weight, but stayed healthy (great blood pressure, no diabetes) due to many good choices, as well as the fact that when I got pregnant, I was in the best shape of my adult life. When it comes time for Baby #2, I want to make sure I'm in excellent health again.

255 is a significant number. It means that I'm down 30 pounds from the day I went to the hospital to deliver Noah, and that I'm 45 pounds away from my pre-pregnancy weight. It's still a lot to lose, but since this week, Noah is exactly 4.5 months old, it's making the "nine months on, nine months off" idea seem pretty feasible. Even if I don't get exactly there, I know I can get pretty close. It doesn't feel so impossible anymore.

It's also an even decade for me - 90 pounds down from my highest recorded weight from July 2010, so only 10 more to go until I can reclaim my 100 pound loss. I'm ready to own that again!

Finally, it's important because my long-term goal is to be around 155 - so, at 255, that means I have 100 pounds left to lose. The last pound in the triple-digits-left-to-lose.

It's not so scary right now. I'm in a streak of motivation - which makes sense. When I feel good, I want to keep feeling good. The nightly salads are helping me feel fuller and more satisfied, even though they haven't been very creative - I think all week I just did eggs over salad. I'll try and get more diverse next few days (I guess I have to, actually ... we're out of eggs). I've pretty much eliminated my after-dinner snacking. I've been doing well with water, but then again, that really hasn't been a problem since Noah was born - nursing him makes me so thirsty!

Tomorrow, we're going to be busy: Matt has a race in the morning, then we're going to stay home for a few hours so I can try and pump off a few bottles of milk for when I work next week. Then, in the evening, a few friends of ours down here are having a party. My goal is to have a good time, socialize with other adults (most nights, I just want to snuggle the baby I missed so much all day, then eat dinner and go to bed), and stay in control of my eating. I'll probably eat beforehand, and then just stick to water. No sweet treats - I know that would derail me, for sure. Some days are better than others; I just know that right now, that's not a great idea.

I'm scheduled for a 5K in a month and I haven't ran in about a year. I finally got my first paycheck last week, so I think this week I might get some new running shoes since my old ones have holes worn through them. I'll either order them or convince Matt to stop playing GTA5 for an hour or so and take me to the outlet mall. If I run-walk - or even just walk - it, I still want to do the race!

What about you? How was your week? What kind of running shoes do you have? I have always bought New Balances, only because the first race packet I ever picked up was at a New Balance store so I had a coupon; after I tried a pair, I loved them, and picked the same exact shoe when they needed to be replaced. I'm just curious what folks think, especially people who do varied kinds of terrain when they run. My runs around here will be almost exclusively pavement or treadmill, but there are a ton of races on the beach or in the woods.

September 17, 2013


We're midway through our month of salads and I'm feeling pretty good. Other than our wedding night (and Kol Nidre when we went to the shul straight after work and got home pretty late - had a handful of peanuts and a Chobani and passed out for the night), I've had a salad every single day for either lunch or dinner. Some have, of course, been better than others, but all in all, I've enjoyed them, and and I'm liking how I feel - lighter, less bloated. It's a good feeling.

A few of my salads:

First, a not-so-great one, though delicious in theory. This was a premade salad kit: cherry, almond, blue cheese, and spinach. Super disappointing for how many calories were in it!

I made something similar myself, and after using my own lighter vinaigrette, reduced sugar Craisins, and no nuts, I was able to have a much bulkier salad for the same number of calories. And with chicken!

Some salads have been pretty simple, but there's nothing wrong with that! Sometimes simple is good. This one is a good once-in-a-while salad: romaine with imitation crab meat. I like it but it's high in sodium so I don't buy it often.

This was a quick and easy lunchtime staple when I was living in California: mixed greens with a Lean Cuisine dumped over the top. No need for dressing or anything else, the sauce makes it saucy enough! This is a Weight Watchers one, pasta with ricotta and spinach. Looks gross, but tastes pretty good!

A giant fast food billboard inspired this one: a healthier take on a Big Mac. Ground turkey, shredded cheese, light thousand island dressing, and sliced cucumber (instead of pickles for less sodium and more crunch!).

Not gonna lie, I've had three or four salads that look like this. It's simple but delicious: just whatever greens (usually spinach or romaine) topped with a few over easy eggs. The eggs are hot and drippy, you don't need much dressing. I do mine on the side and dip the fork for this one - mixed ranch with buffalo wing sauce to give it a kick. In a few salads, I've chopped up a cold baked potato and added that. With the eggs, it's a great combination. In this particular one, though, I forewent the potato for avocado - I was craving it! So good with eggs.

We still have a few more weeks to go, so I'm looking for ideas. Most of my salads tend to be simple, as I'm sure you can tell - tonight's, which I forgot to take a picture of, was romaine topped with a piece of honey chipotle salmon.

What about you? Any ideas? What are your go-to salad toppings?

September 13, 2013

Roses and thorns

This has been a really busy but really wonderful week.

The daily salads are definitely working - I'm feeling healthier, and the scale is moving in the right direction. I woke up Tuesday morning and saw 254 - the lowest number I've seen since before Noah was born!

Of course, today I weighed in at 257, up a bit (though still down from last week), but understandable since Tuesday evening, I didn't have a salad for dinner - I had pasta, plus champagne and cake for dessert. It was a special occasion...

Surprise! Very special, indeed!

We've been planning this for a little while now; it was just us at the courthouse with Noah and one of Matt's brothers, who served as photographer and babysitter. And it was absolutely perfect.

I'm heavier than I would have liked to have been at my wedding, but in the pictures, all you can see is how happy we are. I want to remember that, and not the size of my dress. I will remember the joy and the happy tears and the kiss, not how upset I was in the days leading up to it all, hoping I'd miraculously lose 50 pounds overnight.

Something that consistently breaks my heart is remembering my dad saying that he was eating salty restaurant takeout despite it going against his dietary plan because his focus was on "quality of life, not quantity." So I wasn't sure what I would do about eating on Tuesday - it was my wedding day, but it was still just a day, and I knew the things I wanted to eat that day would be contrary to my goals. In the end, I decided that as long as I had a plan, the day wasn't a problem - binge eating snack cakes is an issue, but enjoying one piece of my own wedding cake isn't. And the next morning, we were right back on track. I figured, if I live to be 75, that means I'll be alive for 27,393 days. If I could only have champagne and cake one day, I'd want it to be this day.

I let go of the guilt, and I moved on. Wednesday morning, my weight spiked up, but after a day of getting back into my salads and minimizing processed carbs, it started back down. I'm pleased, and ready to keep going. Matt and I both recognized that while the wedding dinner I made was delicious, afterwards, we felt horrible, bloated, weighed down. Our salads have been delicious too, and they don't leave us feeling like this. So getting back on track was quite easy. I'm glad to have someone so supportive and encouraging for a husband.

I'm feeling motivated to eat better, and after going with Matt to his late evening group run with a local running club, I'm feeling inspired to start running again. Today I finally get paid, so I can get a new pair of running shoes (my old ones have holes worn through them).

It was a great week, though a busy one (on top of getting married, I gave 5 exams [and now have 100+ exams to grade] and Noah started eating real food!), so I didn't get a chance to share some salads. I promise I'll get on that early next week!

What about you? How was your week? Any fun plans coming up?

September 6, 2013

Roses and thorns

I wanted to post all week, but it's been insanely hectic. Between family events, religious events, and general overwhelmed-ness from work and life, I've been forced to take a break this week.

  • My mom had a stroke. She's home now, doing a little better. But still having trouble walking unassisted, and when we called her last night, she got a little disoriented. Very worrisome.
  • My sister and her fiancé found out they are expecting a baby - so Noah is going to have a little cousin next spring!
  • Wednesday afternoon we went to the DMV, and I took the beginner's permit test. I passed, so now I have 180 days before I can try for a license. The woman at the DMV asked if I was a first-time driver, and I explained that yes, I was, because in Chicago I had public transit but here you need a car. She laughed and said yes, "unless you have a horse." Not kidding.
  • Wednesday was also the first night of Rosh Hashanah, so we went to a local shul for services. Very different from our Chicago synagogue experience, but still a good evening.
  • All 100+ students of mine have an exam next week, so this week has seen them in my office a lot, as well as sending tons of questions in e-mails. Plus all the lesson planning and grading ... it's exhausting, for sure. But I always always always love my job and am grateful for the ability to go to work and teach every day.
  • I had a lot of trouble pumping milk for Noah last weekend, and we had to drive 60+ miles to the closest Target store that carried a part we needed for the pump. Between that day, an accidentally spilled bottle, and a bottle brought to the services on Wednesday, we came up short in our milk supply, and Matt brought Noah to work today for me to nurse between classes. I'm stressing a lot about getting the freezer stocked this weekend, and I'm dreading the idea that we're probably going to have to put him on formula this next week.

So, yeah. A lot on my plate.

As far as eating, Matt and I decided that for all of September, we're going to eat a salad every day. So every night, I've been having salads for dinner. The weight is slowly but surely coming off (down 2 pounds from last week) and I'm feeling lighter. I'm still in well-worn territory, though. Getting under 255 will be a milestone, I've been bouncing around between 256-260 for too long. I'm hoping this is the trick to help jumpstart my motivation. I've been taking pictures of every salad - I'll share some in a post next week.

I'll finally get my first paycheck on the 15th, and money is going to be tight for a while. Supporting one person on this salary would be great, even two would be okay. But a whole family, with a new car and student loans and a baby who needs diapers ... we're not going to have too much wiggle room for a while. Still, I'm thinking about what to get myself as a small reward after a year of exhausting applications and tears shed over failed interviews, all on top of being pregnant, then the mother of a newborn, then relocating 1000 miles away with an infant. When I moved to California, I got myself a Garmin, but since I don't have a computer anymore, that's pretty much useless. (Plus, I'm not really running much [or at all] these days, and when I do, it'll be on the treadmill.) This time, I'm thinking a pedometer. I might want a Fitbit down the line, but I just don't think that's in the budget right now. I just want to track steps, try and do 10K a day like I did in October 2010. It's a fun challenge.

What about you? How was your week? Any fun weekend plans? 

August 30, 2013

Roses and thorns

Another week, another frustrating update. I'm maintaining these days. I made a goal of running this week, but besides running to class, I fell short on my goal. I'm frustrated, I'm angry, I'm depressed.

I love my job so much. And I love that I get to come home and be with my two favorite guys. But I can't say it enough - finding a good balance (with time, with eating, with everything) is still my biggest challenge.

I was walking around the apartment, sulking and complaining about my ugly fat this and my gross fat that. And Matt stopped me, and said you don't need to be mean to yourself. And he's right. My default attitude when things aren't going well in the weight loss arena is a defeated one - I'm not losing weight right now, so I am fat and ugly and a failure and any of a hundred negative traits. I know it's unhealthy, and I'm making a conscious effort to be better about the negative self-talk. Calling myself names and beating myself up emotionally is counterproductive - it just makes me feel worse about myself.

The bad mood that I got in while hating on myself? I spread it around. I feel awful, I've been a terrible partner this week. Matt has found a way for himself to be active - going to the gym with Noah during the day and running on the treadmill, or waking up early to run on his own before I have to go to work. I'm proud of him, I really am - but all week, I downplayed it, or was flat-out negative and dismissive of his successes. Really, I'm selfish and jealous. He is looking good, feeling good, and making an effort to take care of himself. Meanwhile, I'm getting phone calls from family members saying I'm worried about you because the baby weight isn't coming off as fast as it should - it isn't coming off at all.

I need to curb the self-hating. And I need to cheer on Matt, who is always cheering for me. He was the one drying my tears all week, offering his love and support. And I was too jealous to offer it back.

I am proud of Matt for getting back into an active routine.

This week, my goal is to find a routine of my own. I want to work out at least 4 times before next Friday's update. Because this?

All those ups and downs are making me seasick.

August 28, 2013

Balancing act

Yesterday, I ran.

I hadn't intended to, per se - at least, not the way I did it.

But I ran.

I was sitting in my office, feeling great because I was getting ahead on a few projects for work - making lesson plans, entering attendance into my gradebook, etc. - and I looked down at the clock. 3:15 p.m.

I don't know what light bulb went off then that didn't go off 20 minutes earlier, but I suddenly realized: oh shoot, class began at 3:05.

And I'm the lecturer.

And I spend the first day of class telling kids very sternly that "early is on time, on time is late, and late is unacceptable" - a mantra drilled into my mind by a boss in Residence Life as an undergrad.

So here I was, 10 minutes late already. I packed up my things, raced down the stairs, and started speed walking out the building. Once I got outside, I ran. I'm not quite sure of the distance, though I'd estimate it at .2 to .25 miles, since it took me a little less than 4 minutes. I'd guess I'm able to do a 12 minute mile these days, about a year after my last run.

It wasn't ideal. I was in a dress with a normal non-sports bra (though I was wearing my running shoes!).

But - I ran!

I got to class and apologized profusely to the kids. They were rather forgiving (likely in the hopes that I will be the same way should it happen to them), and I said it was embarrassing - first, because I was late to my own class, but second, that 4 minutes of running had me sweaty and a bit winded. I used to be a half marathoner, I said. Before the baby and all.

Secretly, though? As upset as I am about my mistake (I've since set several alarms to make sure it doesn't happen again), it's still nice to know I can run if need be! And that in less than ideal conditions, I could still run about a 12 minute mile - which is, more or less, the same speed I was running at the last time I weighed this much. It gives me hope that I'll be able to work my way back to sub-30 5Ks and sub-9 minute single miles.

I'm still a half marathoner. No one can take that away from me, not even myself. I'm just working my way back to that level of fitness.

I need to find time to run on the treadmill. Something I'm finding to be a challenge with my work schedule is that as soon as I'm done on campus, we run errands or go home, and I want to spend time with Noah and Matt. I want to make dinner, enjoy a meal with my family, and talk about my day. Since I still need to get up at least once in the middle of the night with Noah, I'm almost always tired. That, on top of the stresses of the first week and a half, has made it nice to come home and rest.

It's an excuse. I know it is. One of my mantras the first time I lost the weight was that we make time for the things that are important to us. Working out is a stress reliever, too. And a Couch to 5K workout would be 15-20 minutes at most. I can do this. I should do this.

I need to work on finding a good work-family-health balance. As much as I want to be a bit easy on myself and recognize that throwing work into the mix is new as of a few weeks ago, I also know that putting off getting back to my healthiest self is affecting every area of my life. I'm very self-conscious and a bit sad, even, that half the clothes in my closet are still 50 pounds away from fitting. I miss running. I miss working out - the feeling of taking a shower at the end of a long workout, washing away the sweat and the stress of the day. I want that back.

I'm getting better about getting my eating under control - my problem isn't quality right now, but quantity. Trying to pump extra milk for Noah to have while I am at work is tough - it makes me very hungry.

All in all, I guess my overall consensus is that even though a lot of things are similar to the first time I lost the weight, there are some big differences. It was easy last time to go straight to the gym after work, come home, eat dinner, blog, and go to sleep. Living alone versus living with family - especially your own family, with a nearly 4 month old baby - it's very different. I have so much to learn.

August 23, 2013

Roses and thorns

My first week of work is over! It's been an interesting week. Every morning, I'm tired when I wake up, and every night when I go to bed, I'm tired. And I wouldn't trade it for the world. There's something really wonderful about being just a little bit tired after a good day of work.

One of the hardest things about the job is the course schedule - and even that isn't all that hard, so for that, I am grateful. It's more different than difficult - I've never taught on a schedule like this. At my other schools, I'd teach each section four times a week for 50 minutes each. These were for four college credits. The French classes at my current school are three credits - so I have three sections that meet three times a week for 50 minutes and two sections that meet twice a week for 75 minutes. It's interesting, to have to teach the same material at two different paces. A challenge, but a good one.

(I just realized I wrote all that out in my last post. I'm tired, clearly - but since I wrote it, I'm gonna leave it.)

This weekend, Matt is in Chicago - his dad is getting married on Sunday. It didn't make sense for Noah and me to go - financially (since we just moved a thousand miles away and everything) or time-wise (I work Monday through Friday and flights were scarce), so we're hanging out at home. It's nice - I'm really looking forward to sleeping in a little bit tomorrow morning, resting after a very hectic month or so of moving and starting a new job.

I'm also hoping to get down to the fitness center to try and run a little bit. I have no idea what I can do anymore, what speed or how many miles I can go. I'll start slow, and likely run the first day of Couch to 5K - a minute running, a minute walking. From there, I can gauge what I am capable of.

My weight is the same as last week, unfortunately - I did great all week with eating, but we went out to dinner on Monday night and it spiked up. I got it back down to where I was last week, at least. But I'm not thrilled. It's been two steps forward and one step back for too long. I need to buckle down and be diligent. It's not hard, being back to work gives me a great chance for routine. Going out, though, is an issue. When I lost the weight the first time, I never went out to eat. Dining out was reserved for special occasions. And yeah, last Monday was a pretty special occasion (more on that later), but still. We both want to look and feel our best, so we're going to do what we need to in order to reach that goal.

So, goals for this week: start running again, stay on point with eating, and take at least one nap!

What about you? What are your goals for the week?

August 20, 2013

Back in the game

Classes started yesterday, and so far, things are going well here. It's a different schedule than I've ever taught - in Chicago and California, I had 50 minute classes 4 times a week. Here, some of my classes are 50 minutes 3 times a week, and others are 75 minutes twice a week. It's a unique challenge, to have to teach the same material at two different speeds. But so far, I think I am doing fine.

There is an incredible amount of school spirit here - for example, on Tuesdays, everyone wears the school colors (black and teal). I have one dress that's teal-ish blue, so I'll need to supplement my collection or else my Tuesday/Thursday kids will only ever see me in the one outfit!

There are lots of on-campus events, too - football games, dances, parties with free food (always a win with college kids). One thing I discovered the other day was that in mid/late October, they will be having a 5K on campus - a glow run, even!

It's 9 weeks away.

Couch to 5K is 9 weeks long.

Lovely coincidence, no?

So, of course, I signed up.

I'm excited to have a race scheduled, but also, to have a goal to work toward. As much as mini goals of "losing X pounds" or "getting to Y weight" are motivators, I know from experience that nothing moves me like having a race I need to be ready for. Right now, my weight is stagnant. I gain and lose the same few pounds, mostly because I am still getting settled here and have had so much other work to do that I haven't been able to start working out yet. Once I can do that, I know the numbers will not only start to move in the right direction, but continue downward.

We also know that we need to go out to eat less. Even if you order something you've made yourself and calculated all the calories for, it's always more in a restaurant - plus all the sodium! We were doing well once we unpacked the kitchen - we went grocery shopping and I got right back into cooking. Last night, though, we went out to what we've both read and heard by word-of-mouth is the nicest restaurant in the whole city. We were celebrating, though - my first day of teaching, as well as a few other things I'll be writing about later. This morning, it's back to my routine - so I'm sure I'll be able to get it back down by Friday's official weigh in.

That's the other nice thing about teaching - I have a routine again. A set schedule every day. It's much easier to stay within my calorie limit when I'm not sitting home stress eating over finding a job or where next month's rent money will come from.

August 16, 2013

Roses and thorns

We're alive!

And we're in South Carolina!

We just got internet access at home a couple of days ago, right when I was in the middle of all my new faculty orientations and a ton of meetings. Today, I have a few hours in my office between meetings; since my office computer was delivered and installed yesterday, I finally can sit down and post an update on the ol' blog.

Life has been crazy but good. Moving wasn't bad, all things considered. One of the hardest things was accepting that we had to eat on the road, as well as go out to eat until our kitchen was unpacked and we went to the grocery store. Our weights spiked up, then dropped down. I'm a pound lighter than the day we left Chicago, so even though it's up one pound from my last weigh-in post, I'll take it - it's down 4 pounds from the post-driving/just arrived dining out bloat. 259 is out of the 260s, at least.

We're adjusting pretty well so far, I think. We both have new jobs: I'm settling in at a school that feels absolutely perfect for me, and Matt is discovering how much work being a stay-at-home dad really is (this morning we left the house without a bottle - found out the hard way that Noah doesn't really care if we're "almost home"). I only cried two and a half times the day I left them home for the first time, which I'm proud of. I miss my boys a lot during the day, but I know it's definitely worth it to be able to teach again!

Classes start Monday, and I'm excited to get back into that kind of routine again. Even today, coming to work with my healthy lunchbox packed up, it feels like I'm setting myself up for success. I haven't started working out at the school or apartment gyms yet, but that will come soon - this week has simply been too hectic, with unpacking and getting settled and taking care of business at work.

Something I'm very excited about is how active everyone here seems to be. At the new faculty orientation, there were a ton of people who introduced themselves as runners (one woman had done over 40 marathons!), and the guy I sat next to had lost 130 pounds himself by going on long walks and hikes! When sharing my unique thing about myself, I said I was a runner and that, before my son came along, I was a 150+ pound loser. Since the new faculty will meet a few times throughout the semester for more informational sessions, I thought it would be appropriate - another group to be accountable to. When I moved to California, I kept my weight loss a secret - I wanted to be just another person, not someone with a history to hide. This time, things are different, and I'm going to be open and honest about the journey I'm on. I know it will help me in the end.

I've been reading everyone's blogs (I love the Feedly app for iPhone! A lot more user-friendly than the website) but commenting from my phone has been impossible (I've tried, they don't go through!). So hopefully I'll be able to offer more feedback to everyone soon. I have been following along, though, and seeing how everyone has been doing.

What about you? How have you all been? What weight loss or fitness goals are you working towards right now? Do you share your weight loss journey with co-workers (or family, friends, etc.) for more accountability?